Monday, September 05, 2005

Simple Fuel

On April 27th, 1985, the day was cheery-cold and brisk.

The man went to work. He walked down the cold roads with his fellow friends. He shoved his hands in his pockets. His knuckles were bright red and chapped.
In his knapsack was a hunk of bread and cheese-supper.

The tests were to begin this day, and he worked outside the core reactor. Just outside.

The great towers that ran the cooling water up and down up and down were churning this day. It was a dangerous day, but what day is not dangerous at Chernobyl?

The man sat outside the core reactor when he got to work. He listened to the instructions. Tests were to begin. The man ate his bread and cheese at the supper bell, then listened to more instructions. He was to assist in case of emergency.

The engineer inside the head core turned the power down, down, further down. The water pumps began to cool the reactions off. The engineer was sweating heavily. He twiddled his thumbs and watched the monitors...beep beep.

One monitor grew red in hot frenzy. The water pump was failing. The water pump was failing! The engineer saw the molecules expanding in his mind's theater. The molecules wore faces of Stalin. The molecules were cruel and relentless. The molecules grew and grew and grew until there was nowhere else to go. The engineer could not turn on the pump. The control rods shook and broke. The energy released.

The engineer squawked into the radio, "Shut it down! Shut it down!"

The man with the chapped knuckles rapped on his radio, once, to make sure he heard it right. He looked at the land surrounding the plant. He looked at the land in requiem.

The reactor whirred down, but the molecules had created their own flight pattern, and now the fire came. It was a fire unlike any other. It was a boom, a cloud, and mist, an ash spray of hope. It swelled as it hit oxygen, and the molecules fired into destruction.

The man with the chapped knuckles found the engineer. He wrapped his coat about the engineer's head. Both men began to feel the searing heat of nuclear burns. It was unlike anything the man had experienced.

He remembered his grandmother singing the old songs, and talking of God when God was illegal.
He remembered his wife on their wedding night, her peasant face an explosion of joy.
He remembered the harsh winters.

The heat sears through flesh. The heat melts bone, gristle, and organ. The heat takes away the senses. The heat transfigures the body into that of a space creature-smooth, ivory, plastered.

The explosion was done. The fallout began. The firemen came from nearby villages. They only brought water. No masks. No protection suits. The firemen began to die. Next, the government sent in the liquidators. The Liquidators did not know what they were fighting. The wind blew over Europe. The government arrested the engineer.

The engineer was sentenced to fourteen years in prison. He died three weeks later.
The man's knuckles were no longer red. His knuckles had melted. His wife was not permitted to see him. The doctors treated him through plastic sheets. When the nurses came, they wore gas masks. He could not see the faces of his care-givers. He thought the whole world now wore a gas mask. The man didn't need to wear one, now, because his ears were gone. His hair was gone. His mouth was gone. His lungs had melted.

He died, enshrouded in plastic. The man thought of one thing as his skin evaporated, his breath expired.
He thought of fresh cheese and bread, and the taste of simple fuel.


Blogger â˜­CRUSH you. said...

It's funny what goes through peoples' minds when they're dying.

Radiation poisoning - bad way to go.
Do you think the gas masks filtered out radioactive particles, or was irradiated air a problem?

Curse you. Now I want bread and cheese.

11:38 PM  
Blogger Spinning Girl said...

OK, I am freaking out! What has been happening?

8:38 PM  
Blogger FRITZ said...

SG: Why freaking out? I haven't been around for awhile because I have to keep myself out of the house to keep from getting depressed. But I'm still me! Thanks for visiting my story page!

7:28 AM  

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